Tag Archives: Gustav Nyquist

Wings lockup Nyquist, a player they’re “building around”, for four years at $19 million

DETROIT >> Gustav Nyquist is one of the players the Detroit Red Wings are building around.

On Friday, the restricted free agent forward cashed in because of that.

Nyquist avoided going to salary arbitration after agreeing to a four-year deal worth $19 million.

“He’s really coming into the prime of his career,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “I don’t even know if he’s in his prime yet.

“The next four years will be important years in Gustav Nyquist’s career,” Holland added. “He’s homegrown, developed by us, he’s a good person, he wants to be a Red Wing, wants to be in Detroit.”

The four-year deal, which buys two years of Nyquist’s unrestricted free agency, has an average salary-cap hit at $4.75 million. He will earn $4 million this season, $4.25 million in 2016-17, $5.25 million in 2017-18 and $5.5 million in 2018-19.

In the final two years of the deal, Nyquist, who turns 26 on Sept. 1, has a full no-trade clause.

Nyquist, who was selected by the Wings with the last pick in the fourth round (121st overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, is now the third-highest paid forward on the team behind Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.

Nyquist burst onto the scene during the 2013-14 season.

After beginning the year in Grand Rapids because he didn’t have to clear waivers in order to be assigned there, Nyquist was recalled and promptly scored two goals in his first game.

He finished with 28 goals, six of which came on the power play, and 20 assists. He also was a plus-16.

Last season, in 82 games, Nyquist had 27 goals, 27 assists and was a minus-11. Fourteen of his goals were on the power play.

“It’s a league with I think less than 20 players scored 30 goals,” Holland said. “Gus had 28 goals in 57 games two years ago. To get 28 goals once is a nice accomplishment. To do it in back to back years in this league is tremendous.”

Just 15 players reached the 30-goal mark a year ago.

“When I look at what Gus has produced the last two years, you add in his age, and you look around the league, how hard it is to score,” Holland said. “In college and the American League he’s produced offense. We went back and forth and found a solution that got us two years of his unrestricted free agency. It’s a contract that’s fair for the player and the club.”

But like many of the younger Wings, Nyquist has struggled in the postseason.

“As I reflect back through the years on some of our players, it took a while to translate that regular season success into the playoffs,” Holland said. “Last year we had seven-game series, the year before five games, it’s hard to evaluate players on five games and seven games, that’s why you play an 82-game schedule. It gives players and opportunity to show what they can do. You get evaluated on a short body of work (in the playoffs). You need more games to get comfortable to do what you do.”

Nyquist has three goals, four assists and a plus-1 in 30 playoff games.

Pavel Datsyuk also struggled early in his career in the postseason, registering just three goals in his first 42 playoff games.

“Two years ago when we had a lot of people injured he was a key in helping us get into the playoffs,” Holland said. “He’s been through some playoff runs. He’s continued to develop as a player.”

Detroit has 23 players signed, 14 of which are forwards, at just over $71 million.

Once the Wings sign restricted free agent forwards Tomas Jurco and Teemu Pulkkinen they’ll just be over the $71.4 million salary cap.

Teams can be 10-percent over the salary cap until the day before the season begins, which will give the Wings enough time to decide if Pavel Datsyuk (ankle surgery) and Johan Franzen (concussion) will be able to start the season or head to injured reserve.

Detroit could also free up cap space via a trade or sending a player to Grand Rapids.

“We’ve got to get to camp, let it play itself out and pick a team,” Holland said. “With the additions we made on July 1, we’re a little deeper than last year. We’re hoping for a competitive training camp.”

On the first day of free agency, the Wings added defenseman Mike Green and forward Brad Richards.

Wings GM Ken Holland pleased with where team is at midway through season

DETROIT >> Halfway through the 2014-15 NHL season and the Wings have 53 points and are three points behind Tampa Bay for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

You give general manager Ken Holland that same point total in the second half and he’ll take it.

“You’d like to get 106 points,” Holland said in a phone interview Thursday. “Certainly the second half it’s harder to get points. We’ve got more road games to play the second half than the first half, but I like where we’re positioned.”

Detroit plays 23 of its next 41 on the road.

“I think we’ve played ourselves in a position after 41 games where we control our own fate,” Holland said. “We’ve had lots of positives. Certainly there are some areas we’re hoping these kids that are 23, 24 or 25, they get another 40 games under their belts it’s just a little more experience so hopefully they can continue to get better and we can grow as a team.”

Holland is quite pleased with a number of things halfway through the season.

— Jimmy Howard (16 wins, 2.08 goals-against, .921 save percentage)

— Tomas Tatar (16 goals), Gustav Nyquist (15 goals)

— power play (24.5 percent, ranked second)

— penalty kill (86.8 percent, ranked fourth)

“I think Mike Babcock has done a nice job of developing some people for roles on our team,” Holland said. “We don’t have to use (Pavel Datsyuk) or (Henrik Zetterberg) on penalty killing or defensive situations as much as we’ve had to do three or four years ago so I think we’re a little bit deeper because of the development of some of our younger people.”

The team has also been able to avoid any lengthy injuries to its top players unlike the last two seasons.

During end-of-season meetings a year ago with players, Holland and Babcock stressed to players trying to work a little bit harder and maybe try some different things in the offseason.

They also had internal meetings with their doctors and trainers about the importance of soft tissue injures.

“We’ve been able to put most of your people out on a night to night basis has been a factor that’s helped us get 53 points in 41 games,” Holland said.

A couple negatives – going 1-7 in shootouts and the lack of scoring 5-on-5 goals of late.

“If we get three more points in shootouts we’d be tied with Tampa Bay,” Holland said. “Five-on-five scoring dried up a little bit, but our power play has been really humming and it’s won us some games. We’re with a bunch of teams in the middle of the pack so we’re not way under. We’re hoping we can roll four lines that can chip in.”

Wings PP tops in the NHL; PK ranked second

DETROIT >> Heading into play Wednesday, the Wings have the top ranked power play and the second ranked penalty kill in the league.

“I think it’s key for us,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “All you have to do is look at the expectations for the Red Wings coming into the year. One of the reasons we’re not like that is because of our special teams. Our coaches have done a good job, our players have done a good job, our attention to detail has been good.

“The other thing about it is we didn’t get off to a good start on the power play, but I think through good teaching and guys buying in and a good plan and execution and having good players, we’ve been able to execute in both of those situations,” Babcock continued.

The power play is at 24.3 percent, scoring 34 goals on 140 chances. St. Louis has the second most power play goals in the league, 30.

“The power play didn’t start off the way we wanted to but I think we’ve been clicking here lately for a while now and that’s great,” Gustav Nyquist said. “The PK has been great all year, so that’s great to see as well.

“Special teams are a huge part of the outcome of the game and I think we’ve won a lot of games because of our special teams,” Nyquist added. “Hopefully we can keep that going and also improve a little on our 5 on 5 scoring as well.”

Nyquist leads the team with eight power play goals, which ranks him tied for second overall in the league.

The penalty kill success rate is 87.7 and that’s due in large part to the team’s fourth liners – mainly Luke Glendening and Drew Miller.

“I’m a big believer in that helps your team be better because everyone’s important,” Babcock said. “We can spread the workload out. Don’t get me wrong, Pav and Z are really good penalty killers, they’re outstanding penalty killers, but we just feel that the wear and tear on them isn’t
worth it when we can put in on Glenny and Millsy and those guys and then they contribute to the team and they feel good about themselves.”

The PK units have allowed 16 goals on 130 chances.

“Usually you kind of get the same amount of power play and PKs during the game, so with everyone playing you’re not getting a lot of guys sitting out those minutes, because if there are a lot of penalties in a game some guys who don’t play either PK or PP they get to sit a lot and it’s hard to get a rhythm in a game,” Nyquist said. “But we have so much depth so we pretty much use all players in different situations and that just helps the team get kind of a good rhythm in the game.”

At age 36, Pavel Datsyuk isn’t showing any signs of slowing down

DETROIT >> You ask Pavel Datsyuk’s teammates to best describe the type of player he is and what he means to the Detroit Red Wings and they all have trouble finding the proper adjective or adjectives to use.

“He’s a special player,” Gustav Nyquist said. “It’s amazing what he can do with the puck. He means a lot to this team.

“He’s a good … pretty good player,” Nyquist added as he shook his head.

“He’s been unbelievable,” Joakim Andersson said. “He’s good every game. He’s so good holding onto the puck and so strong defensively. He does it all.”

“He’s got great hockey sense,” Jimmy Howard said. “He just puts himself in great spots to succeed. He thinks the game differently than anyone.”

Datsyuk, who was named the NHL’s first star from last week, is tied for the team lead with 12 goals and second on the team in points with 22. He’s also got a team-best plus-9 rating.

Age and injuries haven’t slowed down Datsyuk, 36.

To start the season, Datsyuk missed four weeks after suffering a separated shoulder in the preseason opener. In his return, he recorded points in six consecutive games.

“That’s Pav,” Howard said. “He’s so gifted, he’s so talented that he’s able to take a week off and most guys would need a couple of games to get the rust off but he’s out there and looks like normal Pav.”

Next, he sat out four games in a row and six-of-eight with a pulled groin. In his return, he scored two goals in his first game back.

“Since he’s been back you don’t notice he’s been hurt,” Andersson said. “Most guys it takes a few games to get their legs back and going again.”

And for the first time in his 12-year career Datsyuk is scoring more goals (12) than he has set up (10 assists). He ranks seventh in the league in shooting percentage at 26.7, (12 goals on 45 shots).

“Pav is Pav,” Niklas Kronwall said. “I don’t know how you explain it, really. When he goes out there feeling good, he’s one of the best in the league. And he shows it night after night.”

“Obviously, we’re happy to have him playing,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “When he’s out there he’s such a big part of our team, we need him to play games. When he’s doing that he’s been on fire. Not just production. Overall the way he plays out there, offensively, defensively.”

Datsyuk has a three two-goal games this season and eight multi-point games, including a one goal and two assist game Sunday.

“He’s a special guy,” Stephen Weiss said. It’s not easy to do when you’ve missed consecutive games like that and a couple weeks and to come back and produce like that it’s a pretty amazing player.”

Weiss got to play wing for Datsyuk when he returned from a groin injury on Nov. 26 and witnessed a two-goal game from him.

“I haven’t been able to play with anyone like that in my career before,” Weiss said. “He’s amazing. He’s just so talented and seems to not miss a beat.

“I ask him after every game how he feels and he says, ‘Uh, OK,’” Weiss continued. “And he scored two goals. That’s pretty impressive.”

Despite producing more than a point per game this season, Datsyuk still is committed to playing defense first which has helped lead him to three Selke trophies as the league’s top defensive forward.

“First priority is defense,” Datsyuk said. “More defense, (equals) more offense.”

Wings’ new found success on power play will be tested Friday against Blackhawks’ top-ranked PK

DETROIT >> We’re going to see how much the Wings’ power play has improved Friday night.

Chicago has the top ranked penalty kill in the league, allowing just four goals on 48 chances (91.7 percent).

Detroit has scored two power play goals in each of their last three games, going 6-for-13 with the man advantage.

“The power play has been working better and better here,” Gustav Nyquist said. “Obviously, we want to keep that going, so it will be a good test tomorrow, for sure.”

The Wings went 5-for-46 (10.9 percent) with the man advantage their first 12 games.

“Obviously, it was a really slow start for us on the power play and now we’ve got some goals,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “Even if we don’t score, you have to get the momentum, and we’ve done that the last couple of games.”

Detroit, which finished 18th (17.7 percent) on the power play last season, is up to 17th this year (18.6 percent, 11-for-59) with the man advantage.

“I know the power play started slow, had trouble getting into rhythm, maybe had trouble trying to find the back of the net,” assistant coach Tony Granato said on Monday. “But I think all along it’s been building. I think it’s been really big for us the last week.

“I think the confidence that group has gained certainly moving forward should be a good thing for us,” Granato added. “You put Pav back in that mix it’s going to be even better.”

The Wings’ penalty kill (90.6) is second in the league.

“We looked good for a while and maybe didn’t get the results that we maybe wanted or deserved there and no lately we’re getting pucks in,” Jonathan Ericsson said. “It’s about getting in the groove when the pucks are bouncing and things are going your way, but sometimes it’s not going to go like that.

“Like the PK, we had bounces going with us at the beginning of the season and maybe pucks have gone in a little easier lately,” Ericsson continued. “That’s how it always happens throughout the season. We’re not going to be perfect. You have to go through those things. We work on the things we need to get better at. It’s all about the confidence level and pucks are going to start dropping in.”

Wings losing out on valuable points due to their poor showings in shootouts

DETROIT >> The NHL’s skills competition to decide games that don’t end in regulation or overtime hasn’t been kind to the Detroit Red Wings.
The Wings are 0-3 in the shootout, scoring just one goal and allowing five.

“It’s points on the table that you’d like to have,” Detroit assistant coach Tony Granato said. “I think we’ve got good shooters, we’ve got good goalies, so hopefully we can take advantage of that and figure out how to get some points out of that.”

Detroit practiced breakaways during practice on Monday for the first time all season. And it’s a skill they rarely have worked last season.

“You have to be comfortable and right now I don’t think any of us are,” Jimmy Howard said. “It’s one of those things you can do it in practice, but once you get 20,000 people watching you it might get a little nerve wracking. I don’t know I’m not a shooter. I can only imagine it’s probably not one of the best feelings.”
The Wings have scored on only 1-of-8 shots, while allowing five goals on seven shots (all against Howard).

“It could go either way in a shootout,” said Gustav Nyquist, who has Detroit’s lone goal in the shootout. “We’ve got to find a way to score.

“We’ve got to take care of business there and we haven’t,” Nyquist continued. “If you don’t take care of shootouts, that’s a lot of lost points. Every point is still important. Down the stretch we know from last year and two years ago, it’s been close. You know those shootout points are really going to matter. We got to find a way to get them.”

Since the league added the shootout to decide games, the Wings are 43-53, scoring 104 goals and allowing 107.

“Just get comfortable with a couple moves you might want to use, I think that’s the biggest thing,” Nyquist said. “You try to have a few different (moves) because the goalies scout you a little bit. If you only have one move the goalies are going to know what you’re doing. You try to have a few moves you can go to. You’re hoping that will work out.”

Over the last three seasons Detroit is just 7-17 in shootouts.

“In games, breakaways are a lot easier,” Stephen Weiss said. “All of a sudden you’re on a breakaway. You don’t have time to think about what to do. On a shootout you’ve got time. You might have a couple guys go before you and start second guessing your move. You just have to go in and shoot the puck.

“I don’t think (being fancy is) your intent,” Weiss continued. “Sometimes when you miss it may look that way, but you’re trying to score. The hardest part is having that much time to think about what you’re going to do. Sometimes you think yourself out of things.”

Many of the Wings feel the shootouts have run its course.

“I think a lot of guys are getting sick of it,” said Howard, who’s allowed 45 goals on 150 shots in shootouts. “There are a lot of different reasons for it. It was fun at the beginning, but I think how we’re deciding games it’s a tough way. Sometimes it’s not indicative of how you played. You get in the shootout and the pucks go in and all of a sudden you didn’t have a good game.”

“If they want to get rid of the shootouts go right to five minutes of 3-on-3,” Weiss said. “I think you would see a lot of games ending in 3-on-3. I think the players would love it. The fans would love it and you’d get rid of a lot of shootouts.”

“I heard some ideas about going to a 3-on-3,” Nyquist said. “I kind of like the idea. I think that’s going to end a lot of games. For sure you’re going to get chances. I think the crowd likes the shootout, but I think the 3-on-3 sounds pretty interesting.”

Babcock puts Nyquist back on the top power play unit

DETROIT >> Quick update from Wings practice Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena before they fly out to Washington for a game against the Capitals Wednesday.

Wings coach Mike Babcock kept the same lines together he ended with in the loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

Babcock wouldn’t confirm after if that would be the lineup he would be going with or not Wednesday.

Jimmy Howard did say he was starting in goal.

Johan Franzen (groin), Stephen Weiss, Daniel Cleary each skated in gray.

The Wings made one minor change to the power play, moving Gustav Nyquist back up with the top unit and Tomas Jurco moved to the second group.

“We changed it back, just trying to switch things around,” Nyquist said. “We haven’t been scoring. My jobs are a little different on both units. Now I’m with Hank and Pav and I’m going to be the guy in the middle, trying to retrieve a lot of pucks and get the puck back to those guys for them to make plays and obviously be ready to shoot when I get in the middle.”

Babcock had moved Nyquist down with Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, Andrej Nestrasil and Danny DeKeyser so he would be able to shoot the puck more.

“We all have to have different jobs on the power play, obviously, but we want to work together at the same time,” Nyquist said. “As a power play we can be interchangeable and stuff like that so right now we’re just trying to find a way to score goals ’cause we haven’t done that so hopefully it starts tomorrow.

“We’ve had a lot of chances but we’re still not getting the puck obviously in the net,” Nyquist added. “It would be nice to get one here soon, to get things going. I think we have two really good groups with a lot of skill and I think a lot of players can put the puck in the net on those two units so it should be working.”

The Wings’ power play is just 2-for-30 this season.

“But when you’re scrambling sometimes you do things,” Babcock said. “I thought it was a real good idea we took (Nyquist) away and then we haven’t got anything to go. We’ve got to attack the net so I just thought those are the guys that have been scoring for us. We put them in scoring positions and see what happens.”